The City Council will cut grant funding to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance that was originally secured thanks to lobbying by JSR Capital founder Jona Rechnitz, who is now tied to a sweeping federal corruption investigation.
The Council zeroed out the museum’s planned $500,000 grant in the city’s fiscal 2017 budget, the New York Post reported.
“Concerns were raised and the Council felt it was prudent at this time to not continue funding this program,” a spokesperson for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told the Post.
Rechnitz organized tours of the museum with top NYPD brass, and allegedly worked with the Center’s rabbi Steven Burg and others to lobby the City Council to fund police training programs there.
In the end, the city granted $655,000 in funding to the program over two years.
One of the Center’s board members, Murray Huberfeld, was arrested last week and accused of paying a bribe in order to secure a $20 million investment into his hedge fund by the city’s police union.
Rechnitz, who was a major donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s election campaign, is also accused of paying for gifts and travel expenses for NYPD officials.
De Blasio’s 2013 campaign has said it would return Rechnitz’s individual donation of $4,950, along with his wife’s equal gift. Rechnitz also bundled $40,000 for the campaign, and donated $50,000 to the now-shuttered Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit supporting the mayor. [NYP] — Ariel Stulberg